UKinbound has reported that inbound tourism to the UK could recover to “anywhere between 50% and 75% of 2019 levels” but warns many challenges remain.
Joss Croft, chief of UKinbound, revealed the forecast during the association’s second roundtable of 2022, which took place in Gloucester earlier this week.
“Figures from VisitBritain, the World Travel and Tourism Council and our own research suggest that inbound tourism to the UK should recover to anywhere between 50% and 75% of 2019 levels by the end of 2022, but these figures mask the extensive challenges businesses throughout this sector are facing,” he said.
“Our session highlighted that demand is returning and businesses are excited to welcome back international visitors but a range of both supply and demand side issues, from recruitment to visas, were likely to slow down recovery, especially as we head into autumn and winter 2022.
“It is therefore imperative, as an industry, that we continue to educate and lobby the UK government to make policy changes that support tourism jobs and careers across the whole of the country; make the UK more accessible to international visitors and enable tourism to continue to support the UK’s levelling up ambitions.”
More than 20 chief executives, managing directors, business owners and directors from across the UK’s inbound tourism industry attended the roundtable at Gloucester Guildhall.
They had welcomed the UK’s lifting of all restrictions in March but said the key winter booking period had been lost, with potential international visitors opting for 2022 holidays in other destinations.
However, they said the luxury and US markets are confident to travel to the UK, although the important Chinese market is unlikely to return until 2023.
Other challenges are the recruitment problem facing tourism businesses, which has led to many reducing their opening hours, and delays at the Home Office resulting in some visas not being granted in time for travel.